The government will take responsibility for the deaths of seven female elephants who died in the Hiriwadunna Thunbakulam Reserve in Habarana, State Minister of Wildlife Ranjith Aluvihare said.
Officers attached to the Department had recovered the carcasses of four wild elephants on Friday, while three more female elephants were found dead yesterday.
The Minister went on an inspection tour in the Habarana Hiriwadunna Forest Reserve after media reported that seven female elephants had died.
He said that no official from the Department of Wildlife Conservation had informed him about the deaths of the elephants until the media was informed.
The Minister said that it was a serious mistake by the Director-General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation and other officials not to inform the government on such a disaster.
Post-mortem examinations of several dead elephants have been carried out and preliminary investigations have revealed that they had died of poison.
However, the officials had informed the Minister that they will send the body parts to the Government Analyst and would obtain a report to determine the cause of the death.
Search operations are continuing to find out if there were more such elephant deaths. (Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa)